California Town Drops a Piano Every Year Just for Fun

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If you have access to an industrial crane and a piano, why not use the former to drop the latter from a great height? That’s the attitude behind the annual piano drop in Winters, California, where the township gathers to see an old, discarded piano raised 60 feet (or more) off the ground and then dropped, smashing to the asphalt below.

The pianos are gathered from a stable of unwanted instruments that would typically be found in the dump or gathering mold in someone’s basement—too warped or rusted to be of any practical use. After a mini-memorial service during which organizers play Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces,” the pianos are sent hurtling toward the ground. Kids even gather up afterward to collect the broken bits. MIT students performed a similar ritual starting in 1972, when aeronautical engineering student Charlie Bruno decided to push a baby grand off a six-story building.

Roughly 350 attendees watched this year’s drop, which has a close cousin in the military-inspired ritual of burning unwanted pianos. Last year, a piano in Winters was also apparently thrown off a bridge.

The musical sadism is overseen by the Winters City Council: Council member Bruce Guelden told Atlas Obscura that he considered this year’s drop a success because “nobody died.” We’re not really sure what’s going on in Winters, but we like it.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]